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Grit and Glory: Exposing the Panama Canal

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Road Scholar
Program #9901RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Suzanne from Severna Park, MD Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 02/23/15 - 02/28/15
I found the two leaders Archie and Claudio very knowledgeable and experts at taking care of the 51 guests. Nothing was too much trouble for them and no detail overlooked. Food excellent, hotels wonderful, information excellent. Certainly no room for complaints from anyone.

Laura from Bronxville, NY Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 02/02/15 - 02/07/15
Interesting trip, well-organized, little or no "shopping expeditions" that waste so much time. And relatively short--a plous for us!

Susan from Richland, WA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/02/15 - 02/07/15
We just returned from our first Road Scholar trip, Grit and Glory: Exposing the Panama Canal. What an amazing experience! We learned SO much, saw beautiful country, experienced the Canal from land, transporting through the locks & canal on a historic boat & viewing from the train! We had wonderful, knowledgable, caring tour leaders, & met many interesting people. We highly recommend this trip!

Amy from Peachtree City, GA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 01/19/15 - 01/24/15
Are you wondering what the Panama Canal is really like? How does it work? Why are they building a new canal and how will it work? This is the trip for you. On this trip you will have the opportunity to explore the Canal from its very beginning up to right now. You will touch the walls of the Canal as you go through. The trip is extremely well organized and very enjoyable.

Christa from Austin, TX Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/19/15 - 01/24/15
Visiting the Panama Canal is a great lesson in geography. It has given me a new appreciation for all the goods of our daily life that have to pass through this "eye of the needle."

William from Gainesville, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/19/15 - 01/24/15
This trip is an unforgettable experience that will without a doubt change your perception of the history, nature and future of Panama and the canal. The 10-hour journal through the canal cannot be adequately described other than mind-blowing. The quality of information provided is remarkable.

Douglas from Riverside, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 01/19/15 - 01/24/15
The "Grits and Glory" program demonstrates amazing technological accomplishments still in use 100 years later. There is no way you can get this appreciation by going through the Canal on a cruise ship. If you love to see "how things work" this is the trip to take.

Rebecca from Miramar Beach, FL Number of programs attended: 18
Date attended: 01/12/15 - 01/17/15
This is a wonderful program. You will learn, have fun, and have many great experiences.

Mary Ann from West Babylon, NY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/06/14
Definitely a bucket list item WELL CHECKED!!

Tony from Stone Mountain, GA Number of programs attended: 56
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/06/14
To learn and experience the Panama Canal this is the program to join.There is no wasted time.

Jim from The Villages, FL Number of programs attended: 14
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/06/14
This is a great program to help understand the importance of the Panama Canal in world commerce, whether business or pleasure/tourism.

Gene from Cleveland, GA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 11/10/14 - 11/15/14
This was our 3rd RS trip. The tour of the Panama Canal and Panama City were wonderful. Archie and Wendall (tour guides) did a tremendous job with the canal tour and history as well as dinners and accommodations. The Panama Canal is fascinating and Road Scholar provided an excellent way to experience it. Best RS tour so far.

Larry from Knoxville, TN Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/10/14 - 11/15/14
a wonderful experience that i will always remember

Martha from Perrysburg, OH Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 10/27/14 - 11/01/14
A trip of a lifetime! That sounds trite-but in the case of the Panama Canal-it is really true.

Nan from El Centro, CA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 11/10/14 - 11/15/14
We had a good time, as usual on a Road Scholar tour. My head is so full of information I will have to buy a bigger hat. Met wonderful people and especially enjoyed the trip through the locks from ocean to ocean.

Kiyoshi from Carson City, NV Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 11/10/14 - 11/15/14
I want to do this program again in 2016 when the new locks are completed.

Barb from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/27/14 - 11/01/14
My goal was to do a full transit of the canal and to view construction of the new locks, and this trip made it happen for me. The full transit was incredible. Our group of 49 made it possible for Road Scholar to rent its own boat for the transit .. brilliant move. We not only had the boat to ourselves, but we also were able to get close enough to the wall of a Miraflores lock to be able to touch the wall and have a photo to memorialize the experience. How cool is that? The representative from the Panama Canal Authority provided interesting commentary throughout the day and was accessible to answer questions. And then to see construction of the new locks the next day .. both the full transit and new construction were just "wow." If that is your interest, then I highly recommend this tour. This was my first Road Scholar trip, and I believe I was the only person on my own. It was a total non-issue. People were very friendly and welcoming, and I talked to everyone at some point during the week. I definitely would take another RS trip if destination/dates/price worked.

Karen from Salt Lake City, UT Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/27/14 - 11/01/14
What a trip! This was a bucket list dream. It exceeded my expectations. Karen, Salt Lake City, Utah

Bobbie from Charlottesvle, VA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 10/27/14 - 11/01/14
A perfect way to transit the entire Panama Canal without spending days on a cruise ship with thousands of people. We were able to experience the feeling of being in the Canal and not looking down on it from up above.

Barbara from Asheville, NC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/27/14 - 11/01/14
A wonderful lifetime dream come true with professional guidance. THANK YOU!

Barbara from West Palm Beach, FL Number of programs attended: 44
Date attended: 03/24/14 - 03/29/14
If you are interested in History and in seeing one of the man-made "wonders of the world", consider this trip. It is not at all physically taxing, and it is a very interesting and well-run trip!

Fred from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 03/03/14 - 03/08/14
It is fine

Carol from Ithaca, NY Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 03/03/14 - 03/08/14
This was a fascinating adventure. I learned about the history and the economic significance of the Panama Canal. I also learned about how the locks work and some aspects of international shipping that are controlled by the configuration and scheduling of the locks.

Debbie from Milwaukie, OR Number of programs attended: 46
Date attended: 03/03/14 - 03/08/14
Really enjoyed the trip and the scenery. It was all about the canal which was fascinating . We also rode the train back from Colon to Panama City. The guides were also very knowledgeable on the wildlife and took time out to point out the birds and mammals . I would really recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in the canal. All the hotels were so interesting and very modern.

George from Chapel Hill, NC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/24/14 - 03/01/14
This is not a tour of the country of Panama. It properly focuses upon the canal itself, and in that way I was delighted. The information content was high. Every meal was a buffet, and they had, after a while, a sameness. However, the food was good and without problems. We experienced absolutely no mosquitoes, a good surprise.

William from Guelph, ON Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/24/14 - 03/01/14
I have just returned from my first RS trip - Grit and Glory, Panama Canal. I can't say enough about the experience. I have travelled extensively in my life and I've never been more pleased. I can hardly wait for the next one.

Sharon from Holt, MI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/03/14 - 02/08/14
The Grit and Glory Panama Canal Tour exceeded my expectations. I loved going through the canal in the small, vintage 1920s boat and making the return trip to Panama City via the Panama Canal Train, in a glass-domed car. Our guides, Archie & Wendell were very knowledgeable, organized, friendly, helpful and fun to be around.

Ann from North Palm Beach, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/03/14 - 02/08/14
This is a short trip filled with educational experiences.

Colleen from Washougal, WA Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 02/10/14 - 02/15/14
The Grit and Glory: Exposing the Panama Canal was a wonderful program. We enjoyed every minute of it! Would like to go back after the canal expansion is complete.

Christine from Galena, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/10/14 - 02/15/14
Spectacular! Visiting the Panama Canal was on our bucket list and this program met our every expectation. Program leaders were amiable and expert and our fellow participants were all enthusiastic lifelong learners. Highly recommend this program!

Paul from Chelmsford, MA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 01/20/14 - 01/25/14
Very informative information about the past, current and future canal and consequent changes in Panama. The guides are walking encyclopedias of details. Panama City is a present surprise. The use of 100 year old technology is amazing and its simplicity is elegant given today's over engineering.

Ginny from Denver, CO Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 01/20/14 - 01/25/14
Excellent program - well organized and VERY informative. Highly recommend this program.

Nola from Mount Carroll, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/20/14 - 01/25/14
If the Panama Canal is on your bucket list (or even if it isn't) this is an amazing program. Great guides, lodging and meals and in-depth study of the canal, canal zone and expansion project.

William from Clearwater, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/11/13 - 11/16/13
The transfer of the Panama Canal from the USA to Panama is an interesting piece of history. Find out about this huge effort and see it for yourself.

Sonja from Healy, AK Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/04/13 - 11/09/13
This was our first Road Scholar trip and we are completely happy with it. The program provided very in-depth coverage of the canal, and the day long transit through the canal on a small, private boat was a thrill! Expert lectures and background...plus a very good overview of the new canals in progress. Good lodging, good food, good companions, good guides!

Doris from Lansdale, PA Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
This program exceeded my expectations. The transit of the canal was the highlight but the Visitors Center for the new locks was also very exciting. Seeing the new locks under construction is fascinating. The train ride from Colon back to Panama City was great fun. My only complaint is I wish I had stayed a couple of extra days to explore on my own. I would recommend this trip for anyone wanting to experience the Panama Canal in a small ship. I was able to touch the sides of the locks. The new locks are scheduled to open in 2015 so don't miss this chance to see an amazing engineering feat.

Nancy from Cincinnati, OH Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 02/25/13 - 03/02/13
If you're considering this trip but you're not quite sure . . . it's everything these participants say it is PLUS this year and next you get to see history in the making. Since 2007, the Panamanians have been working hard to expand the Canal so that ships double the size of the current Panamax vessels can pass through the Canal. A trip to the new Colon visitor center on the final day gives a great view of the enormity of this expansion project. What a bonus to actually witness the construction of this expansion and bring home pictures to share with future generations! Would add that reading David McCullough's book added a LOT to my understanding of "one of the world's greatest engineering accomplishments". If time doesn't allow you to read the entire book, concentrate on the American section (1904 - 1914).

Teresa from Honolulu, HI Number of programs attended: 26
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
It was a Panama Hat trick because we saw the canal by road, by boat and by train - all in the space of 4 days! The program was a thorough investigation of the canal in all its glory and grit, including the new locks under construction. Our days were packed with little downtime except for a couple hours in Colon when we jumped in the glorious pool at the Melia Hotel, once home to the infamous School of the Americas. Our group was the largest I've ever known in more than 10 years of Road Scholar travel. We were 52, joined by another 8 going on to Costa Rica. They had their own bus and guide, so we saw them only during meals and lectures, as well as on the canal transit boat and train ride. In retrospect, it probably is good that we were so many since that enabled us to have an exclusive charter boat to transit the canal which took an entire day. We were lucky to do it in 8 hours, about the minimum possible. We did not wait at any of the locks, but were squired right in along with a container ship, moored in front of us on the way up, and then with another ship, moored in the back on the way down. We also were joined by a small family sailboat in the last set of locks. It was fascinating to watch all they had to do to keep from being tail-spun in our wash after untying from our vessel. The bus trips took us to both visitor centers, the old one at Miraflores, and the brand new one at Gatun locks. The hour-long train ride was a relaxing way to see our path along the canal one last time from the sightseeing dome car. My only regret was the lack of cultural and colonial history of Panama covered. It was all about the canal. I would like to see the program extended by a day or two to see something of the country outside the Canal Zone. I was fortunate to stay an extra day to visit Panama Viejo and learn all its history and drama. But I never did get that Panama Hat. I'll just have to go back!

Lucy from Strasburg, VA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
This was my first Road Scholar trip and it lived up to my expectations. The guides were excellent, the food wonderful, and the CANAL...well, that left me speechless which is very hard to do. I have already recommended this trip to several friends.

David from Fernandina Beach, FL Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
This was my third trip with Road Scholar and the first outside of the US. I recommend this trip. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. The hotels and food were fine. Our day light transit of the canal was in a 90 ft tour boat which allowed us to touch the lock walls and see the huge cargo ships that accompanied us close up. I wish the tour guide had had us introduce ourselves at the start of the trip which would have expedited our getting acquainted with our fellow travelers.

Bernice from Leesburg, GA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
First trip with ROAD SCHOLAR, I was the only AA female on the trip, the entire group was very nice to me. I HAD A WONDERFUL TIME, THE Panama trip,gave me first hand education on the history, up-close-and-personal, on the panama canal. The meals was great,just right. THANKS TO ROAD SCHOLAR, AND TO EVERYONE ON THE TRIP. From Bernice, Chicago,IL/Leesburg, GA

Michael from Manakin Sabot, VA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 03/04/13 - 03/09/13
Panama trip was great. Very informative, accommodations were great and the food was especially good. Highly recommended.

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"On ‘’Islamorada,’’ Al Capone’s 1912 rum-running boat " Uploaded By: Rod
"On ‘’Islamorada,’’ Al Capone’s 1912 rum-running boat " Uploaded By: Rod

"Panamanian music & dancing" Uploaded By: Rod

"Farewell evening folklore dance show" Uploaded By: Christa

"On the train back to Panama City" Uploaded By: Christa

"Construction of the new locks" Uploaded By: Christa

"Turkey vulture on a ruin, in Panama City's old historic quarter." Uploaded By: William

"Monkey see (in Colon.)" Uploaded By: William

"Ships waiting in Colon to enter the Canal." Uploaded By: William

"Frank Gehry museum near our hotel." Uploaded By: William

"Container ship closing in on our boat at the entrance to the canal." Uploaded By: William

"Through the locks to the Atlantic Ocean" Uploaded By: Gene

"Ship with 3000+ cars sharing lock with us." Uploaded By: Gene

"the wall of the lock" Uploaded By: Gene

"In the locks" Uploaded By: Paul

"La Pollera - Panama's beautiful national costume" Uploaded By: Nancy

"Three-toed sloth drops by to say hello at Gatun Visitors Center" Uploaded By: Teresa

"New locks abuilding, Caribbean side" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Container ship leaving Miraflores lock" Uploaded By: Teresa

"View from our hotel room of Pacific canal entrance" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Sharing Gatun Lock Channel with Car Carrier" Uploaded By: Nancy

"Visitor Center - Miraflores Locks Overlook" Uploaded By: Nancy

"Exploring Ft San Lorenzo. By: B Bernard" Uploaded By: Holbrook

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"Touching the Canal wall! By: B Bernard" Uploaded By: Holbrook

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at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
13 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
1 Expert-led lectures
11 Field trips


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